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Gov. Reynolds gives State address

Rep. Smith takes positives and negatives from speech

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds glances at a teleprompter as she delivers her Condition of the State address before a joint session of the Iowa Legislature, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds discussed childcare, mental health, education, women’s health and more during her third Condition of the State address Tuesday morning at the Iowa Capitol.

Reynolds confidently stated in her speech that “The Condition of the State is strong”, and went on to suggest a new round of tax cuts, which she said would lower the state’s highest tax rate from 9 percent to 5.5 percent.

Reynolds, a conservative Republican, has the help of the state legislature being in the possession of Republicans.

Reynolds pushed the importance of increasing mental health awareness and treatment in the state, which House Minority Leader Todd Pritchard (D-Charles City) said has been a point of emphasis for the Democrats.

“We’d like to find a permanent solution for funding mental health across the state,” Pritchard said.

Students from Osage are recognize by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds during her Condition of the State address before a joint session of the Iowa Legislature, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.

One point of importance from Reynolds was her push for an amendment to Iowa’s constitution which would ban abortion. This comes after a “fetal heartbeat” bill was declared unconstitutional by the Iowa District Court in 2019.

The Iowa Supreme Court found a “fundamental right to abortion” in the Iowa constitution and disagreed with Reynolds in 2018 about the bill which would have required a 72-hour waiting period for abortions.

“We must protect life by making it clear, through an amendment, that our constitution does not grant a right to abortion,” Reynolds said.

Childcare and childbirth was another issue Reynolds made time for, saying she would take steps to increase the amount of doctors who are “willing and able” to provide obstetric services to much of the state.

She said childcare was a workforce issue, and said making childcare more affordable to families in the state was critical. She suggested implementing a tiered copay system to not punish families as their salaries begin to increase, along with increasing the income threshold for childcare tax credits from $45,000 per year for $90,000.

One of Reynolds’ final talking points was prisoner rehabilitation and re-entry — including support for a constitutional amendment allowing ex-felons to register to vote after serving out their sentences.

Democratic State Rep. Mark Smith of Marshalltown said the speech was a mixed bag.

“I think she said some things I agree with,” he said. “And some things I disagree on. I hope that we are willing to come to bipartisan agreements.”

One big area of disagreement was Reynolds’ potential change to abortion laws — something Smith is firmly opposed to.

However, he said he was supportive of her proposals and emphasis on childcare and mental health awareness and care, which Smith felt were key to address in the coming years. Smith said he hoped there was more bipartisan collaboration earlier in the bill-making process than there has been in recent years, when he said the minority party has only been brought into discussions late in the bill-making process.

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Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or nrohlfing@timesrepublican.com

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